Natalie Hawkins, mother of Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas, put in her two cents on the controversy over Gabby’s hair.
Gabby truly doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her hair (she’s busy winning gold medals, y’all!), but all the chatter about her locks have her mom Natalie a little mad.
“How ignorant is it of people to comment on her hair and she still has more competitions to go,” Natalie said in an interview with Fashionista. “Are you trying to ruin her self-confidence? She has to go out there and feel good about herself, and she feels good about herself on that floor. Who are you to criticize her?”
She added, “What have you done to help contribute to her dream, that you felt it necessary to put it out there so that she could see it.”
After making Olympic history as the first African-American to win the all-around title and the first American to win gold in both the all around and team finals, critics—mostly African-American women— took to Twitter to comment about how her gelled-back tresses and bun were too much of a distraction to focus on her ground-breaking victory.
Natalie does admit that Gabby’s coach and host family from Iowa are partly to blame. “I don’t think people realize sometimes that she doesn’t live with me,” she said. “She lives with a White host family, and they don’t know anything about taking care of her hair.
To top things off, there’s no one that Gabby can go to while staying with her host family. “There’s no Black salons in their area—not one,” Natalie explained. “We had to work really hard to find a stylist to come and do her hair.”
Natalie said that Gabby’s career is more important that focusing on hair care. “At this level in her career, hair is somewhat secondary. It was actually her coach who told me that,” Gabby’s mom said. This revelation came after Natalie tried to find a way to fit some salon time in with her training schedule.
She recalled, “I was trying to get her into a hair appointment and I wanted to move her training schedule around and he said to me, ‘She’s beautiful. You don’t need to change her hair. We need to focus on training. Hair is secondary. We make time for that after training. Don’t mess with my training time.’”
After making her round of interviews, Gabby responded to the ridiculous comments. “Are you kidding me? I just made history. And you’re focusing on my hair?” she said. “ I just want to say, we’re all beautiful inside and out. I don’t think people should be worried about that. Nothing is going to change…so you might as well stop with all the comments.” You tell ’em, Gabby!